Mariska Hargitay Teases a "Completely New Olivia" on Law & Order: SVU

Entertainment Sep. 21, 2011 AT 2:10PM
Mariska Hargitay Teases a "Completely New Olivia" on Law & Order: SVU Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Christopher Meloni's abrupt exit from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit wasn't just a bitter pill for fans to swallow. As his SVU costar Mariska Hargitay tells it, the departure of Meloni's character Elliot will send his former parter Olivia into a tailspin.

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"With Elliot's departure, Olivia's really been turned upside down," Hargitay recently told reporters of her character on season 16's new episodes, which premiere Wednesday on NBC, sans Meloni. "For me, personally, it's a completely different Olivia. I think she receives everything through a new prism and is quite lost in a place where she's never been lost at all; in a place where she had clarity, power, direction, and focus."

And as the show's two new detectives -- Danny Pino and Kelli Giddish -- attempt to fill the void left by Meloni, veteran Hargitay skirts rumors that she will take time off come mid-season.

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"I'm going into this with a completely open mind and what I've learned is that you don't know what the future brings," Hargitay reasons. "The show was a well-oiled machine. It took a lot of years to get where we were, and I think we were in a pretty great place. Everything is different about SVU, but the team is still in place, the chemistry is still in place, and the desire to still make it great is still in place." 

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. (EST) on NBC.

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